National Framework for Compliance and Enforcement Systems for Water Resource Management

Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, March 2012

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Introduction

The National Framework for Compliance and Enforcement Systems for Water Resource Management provides a nationally consistent approach by strengthening water compliance and enforcement within each State and Territory.

Photo of irrigation water suppliers in western NSW

Irrigation water suppliers in western NSW

Photo: DSEWPaC

The Commonwealth is working with the States and Territories over 5 years to implement this $60 million program to improve compliance and enforcement for water resource management.

Key improvements include:

  • More consistent water offences, penalties and evidentiary aids.
  • A risk-based approach to compliance and enforcement in water resource management.
  • A best-practice compliance and enforcement toolkit.
  • Appropriate levels of compliance monitoring activity.
  • Appropriate levels of public reporting on compliance and enforcement activities.

Increased effort and better systems are required:

  • To improve compliance and enforcement of water resource laws.
  • For the protection of the environment.
  • Integrity of water entitlements.
  • To increase public confidence in the management of our water.

Why is this important?

The National Water Compliance Framework:

  • protects the rights of water entitlement holders by having extra compliance officers on the ground and by using smart technology to detect non compliance;
  • protects water dependent natural ecosystems by focusing compliance efforts on river systems at the highest risk;
  • contributes to the sustainability of water use and thereby protects the interests of communities;
  • deters the unlawful taking and use of water by improving and harmonising water laws around Australia; and
  • treats the unlawful taking and use of water as a national problem with all Australian states and territories implementing strengthened water compliance programs.